Housing Complex Diggelmannstrasse

The small-scale and heterogeneous structure to be found in Zurich’s Albisrieden residential district was the reason for dividing up the projected volume into several units. The multiple occupancy buildings with their polygonal volumes and varied footprints are grouped together on one plot. The materials used provide a common link, with the overall color scheme defining the buildings as a group, but also differentiating them and establishing a correlation with the surrounding built environment.

Access to both buildings in the north is gained directly from the street at basement level. A path leads to the building behind, to the south. It forms part of a star-like figure made of large slabs set in a continuous stretch of lawn. Deciduous trees accentuate the open space and provide shady areas for relaxation.

The apartments have between 2 and 4 bedrooms and varied, polygonal floor plans. Generously-sized balconies facing different directions lead off the living areas. The amount of direct sunlight and the degree of privacy required on the balconies can be ‘adjusted’ using curtains. The kitchens can be left open to the livingdining areas or closed with sliding doors.

The façades are articulated by alternating bands of windows and sill-height walls, which link the projecting balconies and recessed roof terraces to form one entity. The rear-ventilated cladding of colored, enameled glass sheets alternates with translucent glazed panels of the same color around the balconies and terraces.

The color scheme was devised in close cooperation with the artist Adrian Schiess. The two colors selected for the smaller buildings closer to the road are a yellowish-green up to sill height and a purple shade for the wall areas between the windows. A combination of pink and beige was chosen for the larger building in the garden to the south. The overlapping reflections across the colored glazed panels interweave not only the ‘color layers’ of the buildings, but also the neighboring structures, trees, and the color of the sky to form part of the optical impression created.

Location Zurich, Switzerland

Programme 3 multiple occupancy blocks of apartments with 18 rental units, cellars and underground parking

Competition 2003, 1st Prize

Planning/Construction 2004–2007

Client Gemeinschaftsstiftung der Zellweger Luwa AG, Uster
represented by Hesta Immobilien AG, Zurich

Gross Floor Area 4‘234 m2

Team G/G Planning/Construction: Pit Brunner (Team Manager), Katja Schubert (Project Manager until 04/2007), Matthias Clivio (Project Manager from 04/2007), Gaby Kägi
Competition: Katja Schubert

Site Management Witzig Architekten GmbH, Zurich

Total Contractor HRS, Hauser Rutishauser Suter AG, Zurich

Landscape Architecture Schweingruber Zulauf Landschaftsarchitekten, Zurich

Structural Engineer Henauer Gugler AG, Zurich

Building Services Engineer HL-Technik AG, Zurich

Building Physics Engineer Mühlebach Akustik + Bauphysik, Wiesendangen

Colours Adrian Schiess, Zurich and Mouans-Sartoux, France

Photos © Andrea Helbling